Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

imposter syndrome personal growth self-confidence Mar 10, 2022

Do you sometimes feel like a fraud? Like you are not qualified to do the job you have, or that you are just pretending to know what you are doing? If so, then you may be experiencing imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon that causes people to doubt their abilities and question their accomplishments. It can be very debilitating, leading to feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. This blog post will discuss imposter syndrome and how to overcome it.

Imposter syndrome makes you think you are a fraud.

Imposter syndrome, or impostor syndrome, is a psychological condition that involves self-doubt whenever one accomplishes something. It is characterized by an individual feeling unworthy and doubting his abilities for fear of others seeing him as a fraud. It's like there is a disconnect between how others perceive you versus how you see yourself. The imposter phenomenon commonly occurs in high achievers, people at the upper echelons of companies or organizations, and successful people. So what happens when somebody feels like an impostor with this syndrome?

  • Whenever somebody praises your work, you doubt what they say and think if you did manage to do your accomplishment.
  • You attribute any success you have to luck even if you exerted effort and worked hard to attain success.
  • You feel like you don't deserve the job or role you have.
  • You feel worthless and inadequate. A minor mistake can make you think you are a failure and take all the blame for yourself.

What can cause one to have impostor feelings?

Several factors can cause one to have imposter syndrome. The kind of upbringing that an individual has while growing up can affect how one thinks. Strict parenthood, being compared to siblings or other individuals, being pressured to excel in academics and extracurricular activities, and being rebuked for mistakes can affect how one thinks later in life. Some personality traits such as perfectionism or low self-confidence can also lead to imposter feelings. The existence of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety also makes you feel like an impostor. Being presented with new responsibilities such as a career promotion can also trigger the impostor phenomenon by making you think you won't live up to expectations.

Another factor that can trigger imposter syndrome is when you belong to any group prone to bias and stereotypes, such as a woman, a person of color, or a person with a disability. Belonging to such a group can subject one to feelings of inadequacy and prejudice. It creates a perceived sense of weakness in your mind. For example, if you are a woman, you might think you are weaker than men, which is not entirely true. So if you land a career in a field that men dominate and start to become successful in your job and a high achiever, it can make you experience impostor feelings due to your perception being affected by stereotypes. Belonging to a prejudiced group can also make you think you must exert more effort than usual. As a result, even if you achieve success, there can be a lingering feeling that you don't belong and are unworthy of your success.

Dealing with imposter syndrome

Having imposter syndrome can be challenging. It produces conflicting feelings in that even though you are a hard-working and capable individual, the successes you gain only increase the self-doubt you have. It's like having an identity crisis: what other people say about you can be accurate, but you think otherwise. Imposter syndrome can sabotage your efforts and affect your performance. Therefore, it's vital to overcome any impostor feeling you might have, and there are some ways to do that.

1. Realize that you feel like a fraud

You won't overcome impostor syndrome unless you start recognizing that you have one. If you find yourself criticizing your achievements and doubting your capabilities, stop and take a moment to acknowledge what you are doing. Take the initiative to do something about your behavior, such as sharing your feelings with somebody you trust or getting counseling to help you overcome your situation.

2. Validate your doubts

The problem with imposter syndrome stems from your thinking. So the next time somebody gives you positive feedback or praise, take a moment to analyze what they say and see if it is true. If you worked hard and put in the effort to accomplish something, there's no reason to doubt yourself. Moreover, if you are consistently getting good remarks for a job well done, that's a sign that you are doing your best. Thinking that you are fooling others can be something that only exists in your mind. The evidence you find can counter your way of thinking.

3. Don't be too harsh on yourself

When somebody has imposter syndrome, it's normal to feel unworthy or unqualified over small mistakes or achieving something. Negative self-talk becomes the norm. It's a vicious cycle of working hard to achieve something, experiencing negative thoughts afterward, then working again only to net the same feelings after success. It's a self-destructive behavior that makes you want to punish yourself over nothing. For a change, you can replace your negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Also, try lowering your standards a bit, and don't compare yourself too much with others. This mindset change can take time to become a habit, so don't rush and take time to be kinder to yourself.

4. Take note of your past achievements

If you feel doubtful of your accomplishments, you only need to look at your past achievements. Your past successes serve as evidence of what you are capable of, thereby dissolving the illusion that you are a fraud. Look at what people said about you in the past, all the praises, positive statements, and recognition you got. All these will help you realize that what you think about yourself versus what you indeed are can be separate feelings, and you must acknowledge the good that you are capable of doing instead of dismissing them.

5. Establish connections with other people

We see who we are from our opinions about ourselves and ideas coming from other people. When we solely depend on our own opinion to establish our identity, we doubt ourselves when other people say something different. There should be similarities between how we think and what others say about us. To better establish your identity, it's a good idea to build relationships and connections with people who know who you are. They can help validate your strengths and weaknesses and provide support whenever you doubt yourself.

Self-doubt should not hinder your progress.

Imposter syndrome can sabotage your success due to the constant fear of feeling like a fraud every time you accomplish something. It can be challenging to be a top performer and climb the ladder of success when you have feelings like this. In addition, imposter syndrome can be a self-limiting device that prevents you from doing new opportunities. Therefore, it's vital to address this problem immediately before it starts jeopardizing your life. Kind words and praise should not look like an illusion every time, and you shouldn't be dismissive about your skills and talents. When your mind becomes clearer about who you are, it becomes easier to accept praise and work hard to achieve more in life.

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